The Graduate School has a new public outreach instrument: An exhibition presenting nine PhD projects has recently been opened.
The Graduate School presents the diversity of its research to a broad public in the new exhibition “Manipulierte Landschaften – 10.000 Jahre Veränderung” (“Manipulated Landscapes – 10.000 years of Change”). It will be displayed at Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig until September 16. Next year, it will be hosted at Kiel’s Art Museum. The central idea behind the exhibition is to foster the external visibility of the Graduate School.
The exhibits are allocated to three essential aspects of the Graduate School’s work: innovation and exchange, human societies and environmental change, and monumentality and rites. These are key themes of research at the Graduate School within the scope of human development in landscapes. The exhibits provide answers to questions such as: How and when did the domestic pig come to North Central Europe? What impact did the extensive use of marble have on urban landscapes in the Roman Empire? What do the journeys of a monument tell us about German-Danish conflicts?
During the opening ceremony on January 20, Cordelia Andreßen, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Science, Economic Affairs and Transport of Schleswig-Holstein, praised the public outreach efforts of the Graduate School, from which the exhibition evolved. Andreßen also found laudatory words for the successful linkage of the natural sciences and the humanities within the Graduate School. Gerhard Fouquet, president of Kiel University, underlined the importance of giving young scientists an excellent education. Fouquet sees the good conditions under which PhD students work at the Graduate School mirrored in the outstanding results presented in the exhibition.
Johannes Müller, speaker of the Graduate School, thanked the presidium of Kiel University for funding the exhibition. Müller is pleased to have the exhibition hosted in Schleswig. “Schloss Gottorf attracts many people interested in pre- and protohistory. With a room adjacent to the popular bog bodies, we have an excellent location so that visitors will easily find their way to our exhibition.” Furthermore, Müller sees the premiere of the exhibition in Gottorf as proof for the strengthening influence the Graduate School has within research networks in Schleswig-Holstein.
One of the hot spots attracting many guests during the first evening was an interactive game based on Martin Hinz’ PhD project. The player’s objective is to help a Neolithic village survive by allocating its inhabitants to different fields of work and food production. It is not an easy task, but just as in real protohistory, introducing agriculture helps a lot.
Another exhibit very worth viewing shows Bettina Schulz Paulsson’s research. Bettina investigates megaliths all across Europe and possible links among their builders. To illustrate her work, she has taken thousands of high quality pictures of tombs, graves, menhirs, and henges. Some of the best of them are shown for the first time on a big screen to give an impression of the differences and similarities among them. Additional information is provided on a separate screen, which makes her research easily accessible to a wide audience.
In order to present the exhibits in an attractive surrounding, the Graduate School cooperated with members of the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design, who created a room concept resembling a landscape. The whole process of developing and implementing the exhibition took approximately two years. As it has been constructed modularly, exhibits can be changed or new ones brought in at any time.
“The exhibition is not just a great way of spreading information to the public”, states scientific coordinator Walter Dörfler, “the process of creating it also raised awareness for public outreach issues among the doctoral students.” Coordinator Daniela Menge adds: “It was an exciting task to merge projects from so many different scientific fields in a single exhibition, and I think the result is really worth seeing.”
Text: Jirka Niklas Menke, Photos: Daniela Menge